Blackheath had obviously gone to a lot of trouble for this game. They had a three-piece jazz band on the go outside the club-house and a number of tents doing beer, food and merchandise. The £12 entry fee included a match programme which was a very good idea, although the need to give change caused a five minute queue prior to kick-off.
There was a poignant silence of sorts before the match in memory of Drew Rayment a 17-year old Blackheath player who died of cancer on Sunday after a year long fight. During the 'silence' there were whispers over the tannoy from friends, family and sections of the Blackheath crowd. Friends and supporters had raised over £40,000 to help send him to the US for specialist treatment and that money will now be used elsewhere.
If you don't know, the Barbarians are a touring side whose players join by invitation only and are selected on their credentials as "gentlemen" on and off the pitch. They invite players from all over the world and are renowned for the fact that every player wears their club socks as part of the Barbarians strip (black and white hoops and black shorts). Thinking about the cliches that rugby is a hooligan's game played by gentlemen and that football is a gentleman's game played by hooligans, I wonder what a footballing equivalent Barbarians side would look like (Savage, Bellamy, Wise, Barton, Diouff etc)?
The only downer for me was that there were so many rugby poseurs in attendance this evening. I'm afraid you get these everywhere at rugby but they are particularly visible at club rugby. They are invariably horrible middle class social climbers who see rugby as something that they or their children might somehow benefit from. They sit there gossipping throughout the match, hawing and guffawing at each other without a clue what's going on. They are encouraged by the cliquish mentality of rugby clubs - the private clubs, boating blazers and public schoolboy rituals, much of which is also phoney as they can't have all gone to public school. Like golf, the game is slowly changing but it can't come quick enough for me.